Drivers create an environment where employees can engage with their work and help identify weaknesses to address. There are 17 factors that employee engagement research identifies as influencers or "levers" of engagement. They relate to workplace qualities and feelings that allow employees to engage with their work.
In this article, you will learn:
You will also learn about the following engagement drivers:
- Coworker Relationships
- Goal support
- Leader availability
- Leader Integrity
- Professional development
- Psychological safety
- Role clarity
- Shared values
How we measure drivers
In engagement surveys, employees report how much they agree or disagree with survey statements related to each driver.
Employees' average responses to the statements for each driver are compared to an indexed average of responses from our database. This produces the driver scores:
- High driver scores (0 to +4) are displayed in blue and show that those drivers are strong in the work environment.
- Low driver scores (-4 to 0) are displayed in red/orange and show that those drivers could be better supported.
The score and Influence for each driver help organizations determine what is contributing to engagement and what can be acted on to improve engagement.
Access driver scores
The driver scores are available on the Heatmap and Engagement Drivers table in the Engagement Portal.
What is autonomy?
When employees have autonomy in their work, they are trusted to use their expertise to make decisions about how to do their jobs. Autonomy helps us understand where employees may feel micro-managed or empowered in their roles.
Autonomy can be impacted by a few areas. This includes the type and frequency of decision-making that is given to employees and the amount of supervision or oversight they receive in their role.
What statements measure autonomy?
In 15Five engagement surveys, employees are prompted to reflect on the following statements related to Autonomy and share how strongly they agree or disagree based on their work experience:
- I can make meaningful decisions about how I do my job.
- I have freedom to do my job in the best way I see fit.
- I am not micro-managed at my job.
How does autonomy impact engagement?
When employees feel that they experience autonomy in their work environment, this has a positive impact on the work that they do. Employees with high autonomy take initiative, seek to improve areas of their work, and feel trusted to make important decisions about how they work.
Promoting autonomy as an organization leader
As a leader in the organization consider where you can introduce flexibility in existing procedures. Is there an opportunity to allow employees to form their own teams, define processes using their expertise, have flexibility in their working hours, or select their preferred working environment? Building this into your culture allows managers and teams to find additional opportunities to expand autonomy.
Promoting autonomy as a direct manager
As a direct manager, you are closer to your team and can determine the level of autonomy that is right for the employees you oversee. Reflect on the level of clarity and competency on your team and consider how you can adjust your level of control to align. Promoting autonomy can look like asking questions instead of giving orders, not always giving the answer and working toward the answer with your team, or providing more context to help your employees make a more informed decision.
What is capacity?
Capacity reflects how employees feel about their emotional and psychological resources that are needed to invest themselves in their roles. Think of capacity as a gas tank that employees rely on to determine what they can bring to their daily work.
Capacity is about the mental energy employees can bring to their job and the way that impacts their ability to prioritize, focus, and troubleshoot issues that may arise during the day. When it is low and employees are concerned about their capacity, this can signal a risk for burnout.
What statements measure capacity?
In 15Five engagement assessments, employees are prompted to reflect on the following statements related to Capacity and share how strongly they agree or disagree:
- I am confident in my ability to handle competing demands at work.
- I am confident in my ability to deal with problems that come up at work.
- I am confident in my ability to think clearly at work.
How does capacity impact engagement?
Capacity impacts how employees "show up" to work and helps us understand if they have the bandwidth to be engaged. Employees with high capacity are able to prioritize competing demands, are confident in their role, and feel they can be successful as they think through and encounter different situations at work.
Promoting capacity as an organization leader
As an organization leader, look at the perception in your company culture related to handling stress and mitigating burnout. Are employees given the flexibility to recharge when they need to? As a top-level leader do you model appropriate work hours? How does the organization promote a whole-person culture of wellbeing? Making sure that the organization emphasizes this as important and valuable can create en environment where employees feel safe to recharge when needed and come to work with full capacity.
Promoting capacity as a direct manager
As a direct manager, you can help to promote and improve capacity as it more directly relates to work tasks. Working with your team to continuously prioritize their responsibilities and provide guidance on where they can say "no" can help to create bandwidth. Promoting cross-training can help with shifting capacity when someone is overwhelmed or over-capacity and allows for delegation of tasks when needed.
What is the coworker relationships driver?
The coworker relationships driver points to positive relationships among employees that work closely together. When there are rewarding interactions and healthy communication between coworkers, this can lead to a higher level of engagement.
Strong coworker relationships stem from respect among employees who work closely together. In this environment, they feel safe to share ideas and collaborate with one another. This doesn't mean that everyone will be best friends or always get along, but the foundation of trust and respect leads to this driver being strong.
What statements measure the coworker relationships driver?
In 15Five engagement surveys, employees are prompted to reflect on the following statements related to Coworker Relationships and share how strongly they agree or disagree:
- My coworkers value my input.
- I trust my coworkers.
- My coworkers and I have mutual respect for one another.
How do coworker relationships impact engagement?
Positive and rewarding coworker relationships create an environment that encourages greater employee engagement. It leads to healthy teams that have trust and respect. This sense of connection and safety in the workplace can be an important aspect of employee engagement.
Promoting positive coworker relationships as an organization leader
As an organization leader, consider how healthy coworker relationships can be emphasized as part of your company culture. This may even be something to include as part of the core values or to foster through peer recognition programs. Creating an environment where coworker relationships can thrive extends to who is being considered as new hires. Looking for collaborative qualities when hiring can continue to build this aspect of your culture. Finally, look for ways to help employees better understand one another through tools like personality assessments or generational training.
Promoting positive coworker relationships as a direct manager
As a direct manager, you have the benefit of being able to keep a pulse on the relationships within your team. Promoting frequent communication among teammates through standups or regular team meetings can help create alignment among employees. Watch for negative behavior like backstabbing or shooting down other's ideas as this can hurt progress toward healthy relationships.
What is the fairness driver?
The Fairness driver reflects how employees feel about the rewards and treatment of individuals within the organization. It helps us to understand if their perception is that employees are treated fairly on unfairly.
The perception of fairness typically relates to two components - rewards and treatment. Fairness of rewards is focused on compensations while fairness in treatment can point to procedures or decision making processes.
What statements measure the fairness driver?
In 15Five engagement assessments, employees are prompted to reflect on the following statements related to Fairness and share how strongly they agree or disagree:
- Decisions here about people are made using a fair process.
- I feel the rewards I get are equitable given the work I do.
- Overall I feel this organization is just and fair in the way it treats and rewards employees.
How does fairness impact engagement?
Employees tend to associate fairness issues to decisions made by top-level leaders in the organization. When fairness is low it can create skepticism among employees which impacts their ability to fully engage. This can run the risk of spreading among peers and teams and can impact how employees respond to future decisions or changes.
Promoting fairness as an organization leader
As a leader in the organization taking the opportunity to share transparent communication (as much as you are able) to explain the process behind decisions can go a long way to promoting fairness. Confusion or misperceptions can negatively impact fairness so defining standard, consistent procedures and reinforcing with open communication is a great way to foster fairness throughout the entire organization.
Promoting fairness as a direct manager
As a direct manager, you have the benefit of being much closer to the emotions and perceptions of your team. While fairness issues are often associated with decisions made by upper leadership, you can help promote fairness for the organization in the way you clarify and reiterate communication about changes or decisions. If you notice an employee that is struggling with a negative perception, think about ways you can coach them one on one so the sentiment doesn't spread further in the team. If there is a situation that was truly unfair, consider ways you can advocate on behalf of your team higher up in the organization to build the momentum to improve fairness!
What is the feedback driver?
The feedback driver measures how employees feel about the feedback they receive at work. This driver helps leaders understand the effectiveness of their communication with employees.
The feedback driver looks at two components of feedback - frequency and type of feedback. The cadence that feedback is given is reflected in how employees feel about the frequency of feedback. Providing feedback that is constructive for employees is also part of the feedback driver.
What statements measure the feedback driver?
In 15Five engagement assessments, employees are prompted to reflect on the following statements related to Feedback and share how strongly they agree or disagree:
- I get sufficient feedback about how well I am doing.
- I get feedback that is constructive.
- I receive feedback on a regular basis.
How does the feedback driver impact engagement?
Employees typically reflect on the type and frequency of feedback that they receive from their direct manager when responding to this driver. When feedback is not frequent enough, employees can lack clarity about important aspects of their work. The right type of feedback that is balanced with positive reinforcement and constructive growth opportunities can also help employees identify opportunities to further engage and connect with their work.
Promoting feedback as an organization leader
As a leader in the organization, modeling feedback and promoting opportunities for regular cadences of feedback throughout the organization can help to strengthen this driver. Consider how you share feedback with your team. Do you have a recurring time for 1:1 conversations? What does the agenda for these conversations look like? As you look at opportunities across the organization, identify how you can create space for more feedback conversations. Do teams have time to sync on a daily or weekly basis? Are managers encouraged to meet with their reports? Recognition programs are a great way to share additional feedback with employees.
Promoting feedback as a direct manager
As a direct manager, providing feedback to your team is very important. Make sure you have time to meet 1:1 with each report on a regular cadence. Having a planned agenda to celebrate wins, discuss blockers or challenges, and provide coaching can make this a time of meaningful feedback. Feedback can extend beyond the 1:1 setting by allowing time for the team to share feedback with one another through a regular sync or huddle.
What is the goal support driver?
Goal Support measures how organizations help to remove barriers and enable employees to achieve their work goals. It helps us understand if employees feel blocked from achieving outcomes due to circumstances in their work environment or related to organizational processes.
Goal Support is impacted by the systems, processes, and resources that are provided to employees to help them achieve goals and outcomes.
What statements measure the goal support driver?
In 15Five engagement assessments, employees are prompted to reflect on the following statements related to Fairness and share how strongly they agree or disagree:
- There is a great support system at this organization that helps me achieve my work goals.
- My organization helps to limit the number of distractions that keep me from achieving my goals.
- My organization provides me with what I need to help achieve my goals.
How does the goal support driver impact engagement?
Employees tend to perceive that goal support as something that is primarily impacted by the company. When goal support is not available, this can have an impact on achieving targets, morale, and can contribute to feelings of burnout for employees.
Promoting goal support as an organization leader
As an organization leader, you can promote goal support through the processes and training that are available within the organization. Evaluate the processes and tools that employees rely on to accomplish their work goals. Are there places where these are outdated or broken? Can more flexibility be introduced to give employees additional autonomy? Training can also help employees learn the skills or develop the confidence they need to achieve the desired outcomes. Make sure there are ways for employees to access training, development, or additional resources as they work toward stretching goals.
Promoting goal support as a direct manager
As a direct manager, you can serve as an advocate for your team as they work toward their goals by helping to identify, remove, or escalate barriers that are impacting their progress. Think about areas in which you can empower your team to say "no" when something will conflict with goal progress. Also look for opportunities to explain and clarify to your team the process for how their goals were set and how reaching the goals will impact the business as this business context can help drive motivation.
A measure of the organization's leadership. Leaders are approachable, visible, accessible and readily available to all employees in the organization. Previously known as Authenticity.
What statements measure the leader availability driver?
- The leaders of this organization are often connecting with people at work.
- The leaders of this organization make themselves available for the employees.
- The leaders of this organization can be easily reached by the employees.
A measure of the organization's leadership. The perception of leaders based on their commitment to do what is best for employees and the company and their ability to follow through on that commitment. Previously known as Authenticity.
What statements measure the leader integrity driver?
- The leaders in this organization follow through with what they say they are going to do.
- The leaders in this organization are reliable.
- I can depend on the leaders of this organization.
A measure of an employee's direct manager. The relationship between the employee and their manager that looks at respect, fairness, and development.
What statements measure the manager driver?
- My manager treats me fairly in the way they interact with me.
- My manager helps me develop confidence in my own ability to do my job well.
A measure of the work experience. The organization helps employees have a sense of value (purpose, money, status, and influence) when they immerse themselves in their roles.
What statements measure the meaning driver?
- My job activities are personally meaningful to me.
- I feel that the work I do on my job is valuable.
- The work I do on this job is very important to me.
A measure of the work experience. The organization promotes and encourages employees' professional development.
What statements measure the professional development driver?
- I am encouraged to expand my skills and abilities.
- There is someone at work who encourages my professional development.
- I have opportunities to increase my influence in the organization.
A measure of an employee's direct manager. The sense within an individual that they can show and employ their true selves at work without fear of negative consequences to self-image, status, or career.
What statements measure the psychological safety driver?
- I am not afraid to be myself at work.
- I do not sense any kind of threatening environment at work.
- I am free to express my opinions at work.
The Purpose driver is intended to assess the employee's understanding, belief, and alignment with your organization's purpose. Organizations express this in different ways so our survey items are general expressions of understanding and alignment.
What statements measure the purpose driver?
- I know why this organization exists.
- I feel a shared sense of purpose with my work group.
- I have a good idea of what this organization is trying to accomplish.
This is intended to get at three different reasons why organizational purpose might be struggling.
- Lack of awareness of the goals of the organization.
- Lack of understanding of what motivates and inspires the goals of the organization.
- Employees might have the above elements, but don't believe others share them or understand them. This is a test for the robustness of that message and understanding across the organization as seen by individual employees.
A measure of the work experience. The organization gives employees a sense that they can take time off when needed.
What statements measure the rest driver?
- I feel like I can take personal time off when I need it.
- I feel like I can take a vacation when I need it.
A measure of the work experience. The organization connects employees' daily work tasks to the purpose of the business and provides clarity about what that work is.
What statements measure the role clarity driver?
- I understand how my role fits into the purpose of the organization.
- There is a clear link between what I do and organizational objectives.
- Overall, I have a good understanding of what I am supposed to be doing in my job.
A measure of an employee's relationship with their coworkers. Coworkers share common work attitudes.
What statements measure the shared values driver?
- The people who work here share common work values.
- I have shared work values with my coworkers.
A measure of the work experience. The organization effectively uses employees' abilities and skills in their roles.
What statements measure the utilization driver?
- My job makes good use of my skills and abilities.
- My job challenges me in a positive way
- My skills are being utilized to their fullest potential.